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Former Ruth First Scholars

Former Ruth First Scholars (pre-2002)

Shari Daya (2001-02) returned to Durham to take a PhD. She sent us the following update in October 2003: “After finishing my MA in English, I went home for a few months and worked as an EFL teacher in Cape Town. I came back to the UK in January and taught French at a high school in Darlington, and after that took a summer job working at a youth hostel on the North York Moors. Now I’m delighted to be back at the University of Durham starting a PhD in Cultural Geography, thanks to a scholarship from Ustinov College (formerly Graduate Society). I’ll be looking at representations of food and consumption in contemporary South Asian women’s fiction, and perceptions of food and gender politics in the lives of South Asian women.” Update March 2007: “2006 has been a memorable year! In September, I married the man I had met and fallen in love with during my MA in 2001/2002 – an unexpected outcome of the Ruth First scholarship! 5 weeks later I submitted my PhD thesis and in December I passed my viva. The very next day we flew to Cape Town for a celebratory Christmas holiday, and now we are back in Durham where I am exploring career options in social research and looking forward to my graduation in June.” In 2008, Shari returned to South Africa to take up a lectureship in the Department of Environmental & Geographical Science at the University of Cape Town.

Lulama Gomomo (2000-01) obtained a post as Lecturer in the Department of Law at the University of Zululand. Update January 2003: “I am currently a researcher at the Centre of Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR). I ‘m working on the Police Integrity (police corruption), Police Accountability and Witness Management Projects. My job involves evaluation of policy and law, so as to determine whether these are effective to deal with the above issues. We hope to make an impact on this as we are doing research at all levels of policing. We hope to come up with new and practical solutions that may be implemented all over South Africa, Africa and internationally. I’ll also be doing my Doctorate this year, with the University of South Africa.”

Jack Monedi (1999-2000) became a Communications Officer and departmental spokesperson for the North-West Province Department of Social Development (Pretoria). He is also a part-time Lecturer in International Relations at the North-West University (Mafikeng Campus). In 2005 he moved into the private sector, taking up a post as Company Secretary in one of the initiatives of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. Update September 2007: “I am back in the public service after my short stint in the private sector. I am presently working as a Director in the Department of Home Affairs based in the North-West Province (Mafikeng). I still lecture at the North-West University Graduate School on part-time basis. I lecture two of the MBA courses (Managing International Development and Administration of International Organizations).” In October 2012, Jack was appointed as Chief Director: Permits in the Department of Home Affairs.

Portia Makhanya (1998-99) returned to her former post in the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the Department of Forestry and Water Resources in the Eastern Cape, in which she has been pleased to be able to put her GIS skills to good use. She became a senior civil servant in the South African Government’s Department of Water Affairs, and is mentioned in Rose George’s entertaining book The Big Necessity: Adventures In The World Of Human Waste (Portobello Books, 2011). She was Programme Manager for the Masibambane Programme, which aims to provide basic water supply and sanitation services to selected poor rural communities through institutional support aimed at assisting various levels of public sector institutions. In 2012, Portia was appointed as Chief Director of the Eastern Cape Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

Nomsa Hani (1997-98) returned to the University of Cape Town to work at the Research Institute on Christianity in South Africa (RICSA) in the area project of Christianity and Africanisation, and to study for her PhD on attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. The main focus of her research is on Christian Sexual Ethics, Africanisation and (South) African women.

Abraham (Abbey) Kgaile (1997-98) was appointed School Chief Education Specialist in the School Management Directorate in the Free State. The Dean of the School of Education at the Inter-University Institute of Macau, Professor Keith Morrison, gave a series of workshops and lectures in the Free State organized by Abbey in 2003, and sent us this endorsement of Abbey’s work: “The effect of Mr Kgaile’s Ruth First scholarship has been dramatic, not only on him but on the educational work of the schools in the Free State. It has had a MAJOR impact on educational improvement in the schools there, through Mr Kgaile. I hope that the Ruth First scholarship will continue, because it has already had a palpable effect in South Africa; it is too important to let slip.”

Adelene Africa (1996-97) completed her course to qualify as a clinical psychologist, and obtained a post as a Research Assistant in the Psychology Department of the University of Cape Town investigating the role of psychologists in child custody hearings. She sent the following update in March 2012: “My experience at Durham was filled with many happy memories and certainly helped to pave the way for my future at the University of Cape Town. Subsequent to my return home, I completed my training as a clinical psychologist at UCT. I taught in the Department of Psychology from 2001-2009 and for the past 3 years I have been teaching Gender Studies at this University. I completed my PhD (Psychology) last year and I conducted one of the few local studies examining violent crime perpetrated by women. My research is contributing to other efforts focused on addressing violent crime in our country.”